Kristof: Secularists Don’t Give Evangelicals Enough Credit

22cb0-kristof-new-184New York Times op-ed writer Nicholas Kristof thinks evangelicals do not get enough credit for opposing Donald Trump and serving humanity.  He hopes that the Trump candidacy will help evangelicals and non-religious Americans find common ground.

Here is a taste of his October 22, 2016 column:

…More than 20,000 evangelicals have signed a petition on calling this election “a significant teachable moment for our churches,” adding, “Trump’s racial and religious bigotry and treatment of women is morally unacceptable to us as evangelical Christians.”

It’s easy for secular Americans to dismiss all of this as too little too late — but that would be exactly the wrong approach.

Yes, it has been infuriating to see blowhards who proclaimed themselves “pro-life” when their compassion for human beings seemed to end at birth. The grossest immorality of the 1980s did not unfold in gay bathhouses but among those who portrayed AIDS as God’s punishment for gays — “human garbage,” in the words of Anita Bryant — in ways that slowed the health response and led vast numbers to die unnecessarily.

Yet too many secular liberals have moved from denouncing religious intolerance to embracing an irreligious intolerance of their own. Too often, liberals mock conservative Christians in ways that would outrage them if Jews, Muslims or others were the target. It is too often acceptable on liberal campuses to create a climate hostile and contemptuous of evangelicals — and that, too, is bigotry.

It also misunderstands faith. In my reporting around the world, I’ve been awed by evangelical and Catholic missionary doctors risking their lives to ease suffering. And remember that it was evangelical pressure that led President George W. Bush to adopt a massive program to fight AIDS around the world, saving millions of lives and turning the tide of the disease.

Many young evangelicals seem tired of the culture wars, wearied by politics, and less interested in hounding gay couples than in helping the homeless, the addicted, the incarcerated. Evangelicals have done sterling work fighting prison rape and combating sex trafficking, and if secular bleeding hearts and religious bleeding hearts can just work together, so much more will be accomplished to improve the human condition.

I hope that the crisis among evangelicals this election year creates an opportunity to build bridges across America’s “God Gulf.” As many prominent evangelicals renounce Trump, the secular response should be to applaud that courage in hopes that this is a turning point, and that people of good will, regardless of where they stand on the faith spectrum, can begin to move from fighting one another to tackling the common enemies of humanity that plague us all.

Read the entire post piece here.

4 thoughts on “Kristof: Secularists Don’t Give Evangelicals Enough Credit

  1. Just an FYI: Lionizing Spong is not going to get very far with many or even most Christians.

    The Rt. Rev. Peter Jensen, Australia’s Archbishop of Sydney, is making headlines for denying a heretic access to the pulpits of the churches under his care. The heretic is the retired bishop of Newark, New Jersey, The Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong — a man who has denied virtually every major Christian doctrine.

    John Shelby Spong has written a series of books attacking the central doctrines of the Christian faith. As a matter of fact, he has basically run out of doctrines to deny. He has repudiated the Christian faith as treasured by the faithful Church for two thousand years — the faith of biblical Christianity. This faith is the faith for which the martyrs died.

    Mark Thompson, responding to Bishop Spong in the newspaper of the Sydney archdiocese, noted correctly that “one cannot imagine anyone willing to be martyred for Spong’s Jesus.”

    Even the secular press understands the depths of Bishop Spong’s denial of Christian truth. The Sydney Morning Herald noted that Spong has denied that Jesus was born of a virgin, that Joseph ever existed, that Jesus performed miracles, that He died for our sins, and that He was raised from the dead. He also denies the deity of Christ and the nature of God as a personal being, much less the only true God. In other books Spong has suggested that the Apostle Paul was a repressed homosexual. More recently, he has joined the chorus of those suggesting that the death of Christ was necessary for the salvation of sinners amounts to “divine child abuse.”



  2. Dr. Fea, I don’t want to be that one secular poster who brings nothing but criticism to your website. One of the problems with social media is how it is set up to be an echo chamber. I enjoy reading your posts on TWOILH because they represent the highly educated, well articulated, deeply considered Evangelical worldview. I know I can learn from your posts because they challenge me to think about the issues being discussed. I don’t want to use the Internet to isolate myself by only reading websites, blogs, social media, etc., that support my personal worldview. So thank you for your contribution to an informed discussion!

    Another Christian author I have followed through his books, articles, talks, etc., is Bishop John Shelby Spong. He received the 2016 Religious Liberty Award from the American Humanist Association. I wanted to share his remarks on the award and solicit your opinion of this outspoken Liberal Christian leader.

    “It seems to me that humanism is a philosophy of life that encourages us to be more humane. To be anti-humanist is to be inhumane. I, as a Christian, see my humanist brothers and sisters as my allies in the attempt to build a humane world where the humanity of every child of God will be totally respected. When I see God or talk about God, I do not talk about the theistic supernatural old man in the sky. I talk about the experience. When I think of God, I think of life calling me to live, to live fully. I think of love freeing me to love, to love beyond my boundaries and beyond my barriers; free to give my love away wastefully, never stopping to count the cost. Finally, when I think about God, I think about the ground of all being that gives me the courage to be all that I can be.” –


  3. I can understand how Evangelicals who act in the manner Kristof describes would be upset how they are maligned by the actions of their fellow Evangelicals. What is fascinating is to see how Kristof is critical of “secular Americans” who he feels do not show enough love for the “good” Evangelicals. The blame shouldn’t be placed with those of us on the secular side. Just like Evangelicals, the secular community isn’t monolithic. The problem for the Evangelical community is that the most strident voices are coming from those who support “Trump’s racial and religious bigotry and treatment of women…” along with his attacks on minorities, foreigners, the disabled, and our secular Constitution.

    I lived in New Orleans from 2003 until May of this year. While living there my wife and I were members of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association. NOSHA has partnered with religious groups on community projects like the Second Harvest Food Bank. helping rebuild flood-stricken homes in Baton Rouge, promoting speakers at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, etc. Most of the secularists I know are open to working with members of the faith-based community on projects for the good of our communities. I haven’t joined a secular group here in the Atlanta area yet but I’m sure it is the same way here.

    This is an issue that will have to be solved in the Evangelical community. If the Evangelicals described by Kristof don’t want to be tarnished by the actions of the Evangelicals who support Trump, then they need to address the issue within their community. Being critical of secularists who call out the hypocritical behavior of Evangelicals who support Trump won’t solve the underlying problem nor advance the cause of having a peaceful and productive relationship between Evangelicals, and other Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Agnostics, atheists, etc. It’s ironic that Kristof is complaining that Evangelicals don’t want to be considered a monolithic bloc by their critics. It certainly seems that the great majority of the Evangelical community is guilty of doing just that when criticizing the secular community. Just some food for thought from the perspective of a former Evangelical who is now a secularist.


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